Biddy has a long-standing interest in Te Ao Māori and indigenous issues, especially in connection with the management and planning of urban areas.

Her PhD research looked at the development of land acquired as commercial redress through settlements under the Treaty of Waitangi. The research focused on land in New Zealand cities and was part of the Resilient Urban Futures programme.

Research for Biddy's Masters thesis - entitled ‘He Kainga Hou ki te Hau Kainga - Housing development on multiply-owned ancestral land in a high-growth area of New Zealand’ – compared housing development on peri-urban Maori land to housing development on general land. This research concluded that targeted and well-designed local and central government policies are critical to increasing the viability of housing development on Maori land. In particular, the research emphasised the importance of planning for housing development on Maori land through the tools provided by the Resource Management and Local Government Acts.

Current research interests:

  • Development and use of land acquired through Treaty settlement
  • Legal status, regulation and use of collectively-owned land
  • Relationships between tangata whenua and local government
  • Her previous role was as a policy analyst at Auckland Council in the team developing the first Auckland Unitary Plan. Her position at Auckland Council focussed on providing for Māori land and land acquired through Treaty settlement, in a resource management plan. This role included extensive engagement with iwi/hapū and mataawaka organisations.

Prior to Auckland Council, Biddy was employed by the Institute for Housing and Urban Development (Erasmus University Rotterdam) to assist with coordinating and teaching courses on ‘Land Reform in West Africa – Access to Land for the Poor’ (Ghana, 2010) and ‘Innovations in Financing Cities’ (e-course, 2010). In 2010 she received a Master of Science in Urban Management and Development (with distinction) from the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies, Erasmus University Rotterdam. She has also worked as an policy analyst at the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment. This position included secondments to the Urban Development Authorities Team (based at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet), to assess the need for new institutions to support urban development in New Zealand, and to the Sustainable Urban Development Unit (hosted by the Department of Internal Affairs), which produced the discussion document Building Sustainable Urban Communities in 2008.

Key publications

  1. Stuart, K. Whaanga-Schollum, D. Robinson, C.
    “Ensuring the container is strong”: Exploring urban mauri in Aotearoa New Zealand through the wananga process.
    Landscape Journal